|Kirklees Light Railway|
Both 0-6-2ST Badger and 2-4-2 Katie rest, side by side, at Shelley station
|Locale||West Yorkshire, England|
|Name||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Clayton West branch|
|Built by||Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||3+1⁄2 miles (5.6 km)|
|Preserved gauge||15 in (381 mm)|
|Opened||1 September 1879|
|Closed||24 January 1983|
|19 October 1991||opened|
|26 December 1992||extended to Skelmanthorpe|
|May 1997||extended to Shelley Woodhouse|
The Kirklees Light Railway is a 3+1⁄2-mile (5.6 km) long 15 in (381 mm) gauge minimum gauge railway in Kirklees metropolitan borough, West Yorkshire, Northern England.
First opened on 19 October 1991, the KLR runs along the trackbed of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway's now long closed/former branch line, from the village of Clayton West via Skelmanthorpe to the village Shelley Woodhouse (a few yards close to the former Clayton West Junction 1⁄2 mile (0.8 km), near Shepley) on the Penistone Line from Huddersfield to Sheffield, (via Penistone and Barnsley).
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway opened their branch line from Clayton West Junction to Clayton West on 1 September 1879. The branch line was built with bridges, tunnels and earthworks suitable for a double line in case of a proposed extension to reach Darton on the Dewsbury to Barnsley Line, but only one line was ever laid and despite attempts to extend the railway, Clayton West was to remain as a terminus.
The line survived the Beeching cuts in large part thanks to the mineral traffic generated by the collieries at the terminus (Park Mill) and at Skelmanthorpe (Emley Moor), but was sadly not adopted by the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive unlike nearly all other passenger lines in West Yorkshire and was closed to passengers on 24 January 1983. Coal was still transhipped from Emley Moor Colliery to Elland power station until 1984 and tracklifting of the branch was completed in 1986.
Construction of the minimum gauge railway started in mid-summer 1990, following a joint application for a Light Railway Order between Kirklees Council and the Kirklees Light Railway Company on 22 February 1989. Construction was aided significantly by the amount of redundant materials available from a number of collieries in the area which were slowly beginning to end their mining operations. The Light Railway Order was finally granted on 27 September 1991.
The line was originally 1 mile (1.6 km) in length running from Clayton West station to a specially constructed halt called Cuckoos Nest. This name is historic to 15 inch gauge railways as a station on the Eaton Hall Railway, near Chester, built by Sir Arthur Heywood bore the name. Trains to Cuckoo's Nest commenced running on Saturday 19 October 1991. The KLR was later extended to Skelmanthorpe in 1992 and again to a station at Shelley in 1996/7 with a grant from ERDF for the regeneration of coal mining areas.
The journey gives fine views of the Grade II listed Emley Moor transmitting station, passes through the ancient woodland of Blacker Wood which is mentioned in the Domesday Book and includes a trip through the 511 yards (467 m) long Shelley Woodhouse Tunnel, the longest tunnel on any 15 in (381 mm) gauge line in Britain.
The original line as built was 3+1⁄2 miles (5.6 km), but upon reopening as the Kirklees light railway, the line is short of the former Clayton West Junction on the Penistone Line and the length of the light railway is 3.04 miles (4.89 km).
Every year, in December, they do a Santa Special, in which people (mostly families with children), board the train, and then a man, dressed as Santa Claus, gives children presents.
South Lines &
Kirklees Light Railway
All the locomotives used on the railway were built by the railway's founder Brian Taylor. They have all benefited from the application of modern steam principles advocated by Livio Dante Porta. These modifications have improved the locomotives' performance, reliability and efficiency.
The following are approximately half size narrow gauge locomotives:
|Fox||Hunslet||2-6-2T||1987||Fox recently finished a lengthy and large overhaul which took 5 years. Based on a 2-6-4T built by the Hunslet Engine Company for export to India.|
|Badger||Kerr Stuart||0-6-4ST||1991||A freelance locomotive with leanings to Kerr Stuarts Tattoo Class contractors locomotives. Perhaps best described as what the NWNGR's locomotive Beddgelert might have looked like if Kerr Stuart had built it!|
|Hawk||Kitson Meyer||0-4-0+0-4-0T||1998||In traffic for weekend services and special events. Based on a 2 ft 5 in (737 mm) gauge Kitson Meyer built by Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. for export to Chile|
|Owl||Avonside Engine Company/Heisler locomotive||0-4-0+0-4-0TG||2000||In traffic for weekend services and special events.|
|Katie||Guest Engineering||2-4-2||1954||newest engine|
|Sian||Guest Engineering||2-4-2||1963||sister engine to Katie|